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Erotic art covers any artistic work that is intended to evoke erotic arousal or that depicts scenes of sexual activity. It is a type of erotica and includes drawings, engravings, films, paintings, photographs, and sculptures, and writing. The definition of erotic art is somewhat subjective, and dependent on context, since perceptions of both what is erotic and what is art vary. For example, a sculpture of a phallus in some cultures may be considered a traditional symbol of potency rather than overtly erotic. Material that is produced to illustrate sex education may be perceived by others as inappropriately erotic.
A distinction is often made between erotic art and pornography, which also depicts scenes of sexual activity and is intended to evoke erotic arousal, but is not usually considered fine art. Among the oldest surviving examples of erotic depictions are Paleolithic cave paintings and carvings, but many cultures have created erotic art. Artifacts have been discovered from ancient Mesopotamia depicting explicit heterosexual sex. Depictions of sexual intercourse were not part of the general repertory of ancient Egyptian formal art, but rudimentary sketches of heterosexual intercourse have been found on pottery fragments and in graffiti. The ancient Greeks painted sexual scenes on their ceramics, many of them famous for being some of the earliest depictions of same-sex relations and pederasty, and there are numerous sexually explicit paintings on the walls of ruined Roman buildings in Pompeii. Additionally, there has been a long tradition of erotic painting in Eastern cultures. In Japan, for example, shunga appeared in the 13th century and continued to grow in popularity until the late 19th century when photography was invented.
In Europe, starting with the Renaissance, there was a tradition of producing erotica for the amusement of the aristocracy. An erotic cabinet, ordered by Catherine the Great, seems to have been adjacent to her suite of rooms in the Gatchina Palace. The furniture was highly eccentric with tables that had large penises for legs. Penises and vaginas were carved on the furniture. The walls were covered in erotic art.
By the 20th century, photography became the most common medium for erotic art. Publishers like Taschen mass-produced erotic illustrations and erotic photography. Today, erotic artists thrive, although in some circles, much of the genre is still not as well accepted as the more standard genres of art such as portraiture and landscape. The acceptance and popularity of erotic art has pushed the genre into mainstream pop-culture and has created many famous icons. Whether or not an instance of erotic art is obscene depends on the standards of the jurisdisction and community in which it is displayed. In the United States, the 1973 ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States in Miller v.
As this is still much more vague than other judicial tests within U. Similar difficulties in distinguishing between erotica and obscenity have been found in other legal systems. Oinochoe by the Shuvalov Painter, c. Hokusai, The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, c. Gustave Courbet, L’Origine du monde, 1866. Sheela na Gig at Kilpeck, England.
Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary. Pornography: the Secret History of Civilization , Koch Vision. Japanese art net and architecture users system. The Complete Kama Sutra: the first unabridged modern translation, Inner Traditions. Igorʹ Semenovich Kon and James Riordan, Sex and Russian Society page 18. Het Geheim van Catherina de Grote » . The Secret of Catherine the Great ».